Optiv Offers Cyber Security Training for Students and Teachers

Optiv Offers Cyber Security Training for Students and Teachers

DPS CareerConnect students and teachers are learning how to combat hackers by beating them at their own game.  Optiv, one of North America’s leading end-to-end cyber security solutions providers, offered a two-week cyber security offense/defense course at the West Campus TechConnect building.

Students and teachers from four DPS schools worked side-by-side with IT professionals.  “Our hope is to educate the teachers, so they can present it to their students, and the knowledge can trickle down,” said Nathan Magniez, a service enablement architect for Optiv.

In the first half of the course, students learned about methodologies, tactics and techniques of malicious hackers.  The latter half of the course covered concepts and techniques companies use to identify and respond to network attacks.

Angel Hernandez is a ninth grader taking a TechConnect class right now at West Early College, and he says that observing Optiv’s cyber security class is a good supplement to his high school class.  “We’re learning really cool things about binary form, encryption and shadow files right now [in the Optiv course]. It gives me a different perspective to the things I’m learning in my Intro to Computer Science class.”

“Generation Z has a high interest and aptitude for technology,” said Justin Shankle, talent acquisition partner for Optiv.  “With the Offense/Defense course, students will learn they can do really sophisticated things.  We hope events like this can pique students’ interests and show them that cyber security is a viable career path.”

As the world becomes more and more connected, and criminals’ techniques grow more sophisticated, the cyber security industry is rapidly evolving.  Governments and companies spent an estimated $106 billion globally in 2015 on cyber security initiatives.

Magniez says that when Optiv recruits employees, it looks for candidates who enjoy testing the boundaries of what can be done.  “We look for curiosity – students who enjoy tinkering, breaking things and figuring out how they work.”

Hernandez initially was interested in pursing a degree in forensic science, but he says that his TechConnect class and the Optiv training have made him consider pursuing a four-year degree in computer science.

“Hands-on experiences like [the Optiv training] inspire me to learn more about computer science,” he said.  “Tech is really booming right now, and it’s not a bad field to go into!”

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